The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is expanding an innovative pilot program that lets patients sign up and get test results for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
With STI rates on the rise, the agency says the online project is designed to make it easy for those who are sexually active to get tested.
"It enables them to bypass a clinic," said Dr. Troy Grennan, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's physician lead for HIV/STI and clinical prevention services.
"It means people ... can now check their HIV status — without a doctor — anytime — anywhere and as often as they need to."
In addition to HIV testing, online testing is also available for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and Hepatitis C.
The steps are simple.
- Log on at getcheckedonline.com.
- Sign up for a account and get a unique coded identifier.
- Go to a participating LifeLabs location to get tested for HIV and/or sexually transmitted infections, no ID required.
- Log in to get your results online, accessible with your code.
Program reaching people
About 850 people logged into the program in its first 18 months, 350 of whom received STI and HIV testing, says Devon Haag, the program manager for online sexual health services
Of those, only eight people learned they had an STI, and none were HIV positive.
Within the next two months, Haag says the program will be expanded outside Vancouver to target under-served communities in B.C..
She says GetCheckedOnline will be offered in two communities in the Interior Health region and three in the Island Health region.
Haag says online testing is designed to reach people who otherwise wouldn't be checking their sexual health status because they may not have a doctor, may not feel comfortable asking their family physician for a test or are worried about confidentiality.
A previous version of this story said eight per cent of those tested were found to have HIV. In fact only eight people were found to have an STI and none of those tested had HIV.Jan 13, 2016 11:25 AM PT
A previous version of this story indicated the testing was anonymous. In fact users need to sign up online with their name, age and gender, but they only need to use a code in order to get tested at a clinic.Jan 13, 2016 11:26 AM PT